Fragrant orange, sage and bay leaf chicken dinner.

beautiful colors

We’re enjoying a brilliant November here in Montreal. This morning, the 14th, a usually grey and cold period of the year, my mom(in town visiting) as well as Carolina and I went jogging for 45 min in t-shirts… Carolina is still fantasizing about a snow-less winter. AH! Frankly, as I’ve written before, I’d rather a grey-less winter than a snow-less one. Let me soak in the brightly reflected sunlight while skating, cross country skiing and whatever other outdoor activity I might indulge in. I’d rather the moonlit nights than the dark ones that start oh so early(despite the warm weather, the nights are still starting at about 5…these things don’t change.).

Anyways, I had some fresh bay leaves and sage as well as some small oranges in the fridge last night and wanted to use them favorably. I succeeded. The following meal was wonderful.

I went out bought some organic grain fed chicken, with its skin still on: a key element of the recipe in my mind. Sacrifice a bit of your healthy behavior and do so. I highly recommend it.

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to follow the exact meal I made:

Chicken
oranges
fresh sage and bay leaves
sherry, or sherry vinegar
A large teaspoon of both smoky paprika and regular paprika
: preferably good quality paprika. I converted to buying more expensive paprika last year and its changed my life. Drop by a good spice shop in your neighborhood if there’s one.
Garlic: ideally local. Chinese garlic isn’t very good.
Pearl onions
Fennel
Fennel seeds

Potatoes
Olive oil

salt and pepper

I started by marinating the chicken pieces in sliced oranges, roughly chopped sage, bay leaves(fresh), roughly cut garlic, both kinds of paprika, and olive oil.

savory and slightly smoky chicken marinade

I followed this by prepping my potatoes, which I skinned, quartered and steamed. Ideally you want a sharp knife to go through with a bit of resistance. The rest of the cooking should take place in the oven when all of the ingredients bake together.

I also prepped my pearl onions, which I skinned by cutting the root of the onion bulb and by then blanching the onions quickly and transferring them to ice water where I could then just squeeze the onion out of its skin. This process makes it easier and faster to do so. You can also skip this but the skin and onion juices are kind of sticky…

potatoes ready for a steam bath...
pearl onions

After prepping this, I then seared the chicken pieces to crisp the skin and use its fat to fry the potatoes, fennel, pearl onions and fresh herbs that were in the marinade.

seared chicken pieces

After taking the chicken out of the pan and returning it to the marinade, I added a bit of olive oil(chicken doesn’t produce as much fat as a duck magret does, so it depends on how much fat you want in your food) and added some of the fresh bay leaves, sage, pearl onions, large garlic chunks, fennel seeds and potatoes.

Following this, I quickly seared my fennel slices on both sides.

searing fennel

When the searing of the vegetables was done I put them in a deep oven dish and then added the seared chicken as well as its marinade and finished it off by sprinkling the whole thing with some sherry.

veggies ready to the oven
ready for the oven

I had preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I let the whole thing slowly cook, every so often basting everything with the juices that accumulated in the bottom of the dish. When the chicken was cooked, I turned my broiler on and ever so slightly burned the chicken pieces for additional flavor.

ready to eat

Voila!

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